Isabelle Mary Ann (Olson) Mattson, age 92, of Cokato, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, shedding a single tear of joy as she left behind her loved ones here on earth and was welcomed home by her heavenly family.
Isabelle was born April 2, 1922, in Harvey Township, MN, to Henry and Emma Olson. Isabelle was the oldest, followed by her three siblings: Maxine, Walter, and Edwin.
She grew up on a farm north of Grove City. Although they had many animals, Isabelle was particularly fond of her pet goat. Life on the farm involved doing a lot of chores, and sewing was particularly important to girls in the family. Isabelle learned to sew and quilt from her mother, a passion she kept with her until late into life.
Isabelle and Maxine went through school together, with Isabelle the oldest in the class, and Maxine the youngest. Upon graduation from Grove City High School in 1941, Isabelle and Maxine attended St. Cloud State University for one year, before transferring to the St. Barnabas Hospital School of Nursing, from where they graduated in 1944.
As a part of her training, Isabelle spent six months in Seattle. As a Naval cadet nurse, she cared for soldiers wounded on the Pacific Front. Upon completing her nurse’s training, Isabelle returned to Grove City and worked at a doctor’s office in Litchfield.
Isabelle met Gordon Mattson in early 1947, and they were married Dec. 28, 1947, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Litchfield. Gordy and Isabelle made their home in Cokato, and welcomed three children: Steven in 1950, Susan in 1951, and Carol in 1955.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, the love of nursing was instilled in Isabelle at an early age. She worked as a nurse in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and private nursing. From 1965-1968, Isabelle was the director of nursing at Cokato Constant Care Nursing Home. Before retiring in 1990, Isabelle served as Cokato Elementary school nurse for 22 years.
An active volunteer throughout her life, Isabelle was a member of the Cokato Volunteer Ambulance Squad for 10 years, logging 2,688 hours. She was on the St. Mary’s Hospital Board in Winsted for four years, and helped raise funds for St. Mary’s Nursing Home.
Isabelle was a regular volunteer at Cokato Manor, where she escorted residents on outings to local restaurants. She was also active on the Cokato Apartments Board, the Buffalo Hospital Board, the Augustana Homes Board, the Evangelical Lutheran Church Board of Social Ministry, and the Cokato Legion Auxiliary, and was an Eastern Star member. In addition, she delivered meals to those in need in Cokato, and was a Litchfield hospice volunteer.
In 1995, the Dassel-Cokato Rotary Club honored Isabelle by awarding her “The Paul Harris Fellow” for her body of work in the Cokato area. She was also recognized for her commitment to volunteerism by being named Outstanding Senior Woman in Wright County in 1995, and receiving the first annual Outstanding Cokato Citizen Award in 2004.
In 2010, Isabelle was chosen as grand marshall for the Cokato Corn Carnival parade. Even though she was not able to be in the parade due to health concerns, this was a source of great pride for her.
Isabelle loved gardening. She maintained both a large vegetable and flower garden for many years. She spent the late summer days canning and pickling. Before she started having problems with her eyes, she loved to knit, cross-stitch, and make quilts.
She also liked to travel. Isabelle went on three cruises to Alaska, and took a trip to Iceland later in life. In 2010, she took 13 family members on a cruise to Alaska. She said, “It’s the best money I ever spent!”
Isabelle took great pride in her family. She especially loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She often joked that if she could have skipped motherhood and been a grandma right away, she would have done it.
Isabelle will remembered most for her sense of humor, strength, and compassion for all.
Over the past few years, Isabelle’s health deteriorated. She became weaker and developed an arrhythmic heartbeat. She was placed into hospice care Nov. 22, and was welcomed into paradise Nov. 26.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon; parents Henry and Emma Olson; and siblings Walter Olson and Maxine Mitchell.
Isabelle is survived by a son, Steven (Mary); daughters Susan (Robert) Johnson, and Carol (Bruce) Semke; brother Edwin (Barb) Olson; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service was Monday, Dec. 1 at 11:30 a.m. at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato.
There was visitation Sunday, Nov. 30 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato, which handled the arrangements.